Racing great Bart Cummings has an imposing record when it comes to this time of year and is looking ahead to the spring again this season including with Cox Plate 2014-bound Norzita.
The 12 time Melbourne Cup winning horseman turns 87 this November and he’s hoping by then his new training partnership with grandson James will have been christened with its maiden Group 1 trophy.
On his own the veteran has enjoyed 266 majors over the years including his aforementioned dozen Melbourne Cups, seven Caulfield Cups, 11 Mackinnon Stakes and five Cox Plates.
Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) meanwhile is the big race he’s got in mind for his Thorn Park mare Norzita.
The rising five-year-old is already a dual Group 1 champion having won the 2012 Flight Stakes during her three-year-old season before returning last April to take out the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill.
Also a close third to Sacred Falls in a wet edition of the Doncaster Mile that campaign, Norzita was given a four month break before returning for a one hit prep last August.
She ran third to Rebel Dane in the Group 3 Show County (1200m) but hasn’t raced since.
Cummings had her pegged for a Cox Plate type last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival but tendon injury suffered in the Show County cut short her campaign and she didn’t get the chance to prove herself in the WFA classic.
She’s not yet listed in the pre-nomination Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s edition either, but Cummings is hoping she can make it to the Moonee Valley classic on October 25 without any more setbacks.
After finishing off her rehabilitation, Norzita is now back in work and gearing up for her much awaited return.
“She’s a good mare,” Cummings told The Daily Telegraph.
“We have given her plenty of time, which you need to do, and the leg looks good.”
Other possible weight-for-age spring targets Norzita could contest when she returns include the $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20 and the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, November 1.
Also heading towards possible Group 1 targets for the stable this coming spring are the likes of promising Shamardal filly Shamalia and the undefeated Hallowed Crown.
A winner of three of her six starts to date, Shamalia could target the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 while Group 3 winning colt Hallowed Crown will be considered for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney in September and the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne a month later.
To follow Norzita and co. throughout their upcoming spring prep make sure you stay tuned to Races.com.au, and also make sure you’re signed up with Ladbrokes.com.au for all the top Group 1 race markets.
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